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Tomra surges on German recycling plan

Tomra surges on German recycling plan
OSLO - Shares in Norwegian recycling firm Tomra ASA surged to a record high yesterday on news that Germany plans deposits on cans and non-refillable bottles from 2001 as part of an environmental drive. Tomra, which says it is the worlds leading maker of machines that collect used beverage containers and repay consumers a deposit, forecast that it could benefit hugely from the German decision. Tomra shares rocketed 13.6 percent on the Oslo bourse to an all-time peak of 347 Norwegian crowns ($36.17) and were up 28.50 at 334 in late trade. The Total share index of the Oslo bourse was up 0.2 percent. Late yesterday German Environment Minister Juergen Trittin said he planned a system of deposits on cans and non-refillable glass and plastic bottles from summer 2001. "We believe, without promising too much, that the market need for the technology in Germany will be perhaps 25,000 units in the next 2.5 to three years," Tomra chief executive Erik Thorsen told Reuters. "This is a considerable market." Tomra says that it has 29,000 machines installed around Europe and 7,000 in the United States. Thorsen estimated that the new measures would add a further 15 billion drinks containers a year to a German recycling system, under which deposits are already charged on reusable containers to encourage consumers to recycle. "There are deposits on everything that can be refilled, and refillables have a very high percentage of the total drinks market in Germany - 70 percent," he said. Tomra now has about 4,500 to 5,000 recycling machines in Germany, which Thorsen said represented about a 90 percent stake of the market. Most of Tomras machines are placed in supermarkets and shops. "There will be a greater need for automation, and the complexity of handling this in shops will be far greater," he said. He declined to estimate how much of the new German market Tomra might capture. "Today we have a strong market position behind our technology in Europe of about 90 percent and perhaps a bit higher in some places. Well have to wait and see whether we can manage to maintain such a strong position in Germany." Story by Ola Peter Krohn Gjessing REUTERS NEWS SERVICE
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